The dollar is the official currency of Barbados. Like nearly all dollar currencies, it is subdivided into 100 cents under a decimalized system. The current Barbadian dollar was introduced in 1935, and it is considered one of the most stable currencies in the Caribbean. European rule of the country began with Portugal and Spain, but the island was an English/British colony from 1625 to 1966. As a long-time British colony, the currency of Barbados followed the pound sterling closely.
After using a combination of English, Spanish and Mexican currency for over two centuries, a British imperial order forced Barbados into adopting sterling coins in 1848. However, use of the Spanish pieces of eight coins was so widespread, it was impossible to eliminate them. When the international silver crises of 1873 began, silver dollar coins were devalued, and British coins entered full circulation. The British coins, however, were accounted for in dollars with 1 dollar equal to 4 shillings and 2 pence. Private banknotes in dollar denominations were printed and used alongside the sterling coins and British pound notes between 1888 and 1949. In 1949, Barbadian dollars were linked with the British West Indies dollar, and the sterling coins were replaced by local decimalized coins in 1955. In 1965, the East Caribbean dollar replaced the British West Indies dollars.
The current Barbadian dollars were issued in 1972 after the creation of the Central Bank of Barbados. The Central Bank of Barbados replaced the East Caribbean Currency Authority, which was responsible for most economic and monetary matters in the region. The new Central Bank of Barbados was charged with promoting monetary stability in the newly independent country and creating a sound financial structure. The bank is also responsible for issuing credit to commercial banks. The first banknotes issued by the Central Bank were in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 100 dollars. In 1980, the 1-dollar note was replaced by a new 2-dollar note, and in 1989, a 50-dollar note was added to the series. The first coins were in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents and $1. Most of the coins are minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. The 1-cent coin is minted from copper-plated zinc, the 5-cent coin from brass, and the others from cupronickel.